Tag:Yogi Berra
Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:37 am
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Verlander correctly picked Super Bowl score

Justin VerlanderBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Justin Verlander is on a roll. Not only did he pick up the American League MVP and Cy Young, but the Tigers' pitcher nailed the Super Bowl score in a celebrity Super Bowl poll.

Earlier this week, Verlander predicted the Giants' 21-17 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl in the Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll. He was the only celebrity to nail the winner and score. Adam West, the original Batman on TV, had the score right, but the winner wrong, picking the Patriots to win 21-17.

Verlander took to Twitter to gloat:



As for other baseball players, Yogi Berra picked the Giants to win 23-20, former Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca picked the Patriots to win, 20-13 and the San Diego Chicken also picked the Giants.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 12:49 pm
 

Teixeira, Dickey, Mullin to receive 'Thurmans'

By Matt Snyder

The 32nd annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner will be held in New York City on January 31st, and this time around Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and former St. John's basketball star Chris Mullin will receive "Thurmans," in honor of the late Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, who died at age 32 when he crashed a plane during flying lessons.

The list of past winners of Thurmans, per press release, is as follows:
The list of notable athletes to previously receive the Munson Award reads like a sports “Who’s Who,” and includes: Yankees – Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly, Mariano Rivera, Willie Randolph, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Robby Cano, Bernie Williams, Bobby Murcer, Joe Torre, Joe Girardi and Nick Swisher; Mets – Tom Seaver, John Franco, Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza, Ron Darling, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Keith Hernandez, Rusty Staub and Gary Carter; Basketball – Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, Dave DeBusschere, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, “Dr. J” Julius Erving, Sen. Bill Bradley, Mark Jackson, Charles Oakley, Allan Houston and John Starks.
Also, Yankee legend Yogi Berra will receive the Legend Award.

The dinner benefits the benefits AHRC-New York City Foundation.

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Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:21 am
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:12 pm
 

Tony La Russa could manage in 2012 All-Star Game



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Tony La Russa may not have managed his last game -- the retired manager could return to the dugout for the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, commissioner Bud Selig told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I'd like to see him do that," Selig told Hummel. "We've got to see what happens."

As we noted on Monday, the gig is there if La Russa wants it. The World Series managers usually manage the All-Star teams the next season, meaning La Russa would be in line to manage the National League and Ron Washington to manage the American League.

La Russa wouldn't be the first retired manager to come back to manage the All-Star team. Danny Murtaugh of the Pirates retired after winning the 1971 World Series and then managed the 1972 All-Star Game.

There have been other managers to retire or switch teams after appearing in the World Series -- the ones that switched teams have managed representing their new team (i.e. Dusty Baker in 2003, Dick Williams in 1974), while other times managers who have been fired or resigned were replaced by the manager of the team with the next-best record. After the 1964 season, both the Cardinals' Johnny Keane and Yankees' Yogi Berra were no longer with their teams, so Gene Mauch of the Phillies and Al Lopez of the White Sox managed the 1965 Game.

None of those All-Star Games "counted" though -- but really, would  even a retired La Russa be a hindrance to the National League? It would be a fitting tribute to one of baseball's greatest managers, and also a nice touch that it would come in the state of Missouri.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 12:03 am
Edited on: October 29, 2011 12:26 am
 

2011 World Series best in a decade

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals are the World Series champions, but for one of the few times in recent memory, baseball fans were rewarded with an exciting, entertaining World Series. Looking over the last 10 World Series, there have been some stinkers -- good storylines, but often better storylines than games. Here's looking at the last 10 World Series and ranking them by what happened on the field and on the field only, with 2011, of course, leading the way in a landslide.

1. 2011: Cardinals over Rangers in 7

MVP: David Freese
What it's remembered for: Well, we'll see -- it could be Chris Carpenter's gutty Game 7 effort, Albert Pujols' historic Game 3 performance, David Freese's Game 6 heroics, Tony La Russa's Game 5 blunders, the Cardinals' rally from being down to their last strike twice in Game 6 or even Mike Napoli's amazing series. It's probably too early to tell -- just like it's to early to tell where this one will fall in the list of all-time great series, but we do know for sure right now that it's the best we've seen in a while.



2. 2002: Angels over Giants in 7
MVP: Troy Glaus
What it's remembered for: With the Giants just eight outs from the title, manager Dusty Baker pulled Russ Ortiz with one out in the seventh after back-to-back singles. Baker handed Ortiz the game ball before sending him back to the dugout before Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer off of Felix Rodriguez. The Angeles rallied for three more runs in the eighth inning to win 6-5 and went on to win Game 7 behind John Lackey.



3. 2003:
Marlins over Yankees in 6
MVP: Josh Beckett
What it's remembered for: Beckett started Game 6 on three days' rest and shutout the Yankees on five hits to clinch the title at Yankee Stadium.


4. 2009:
Yankees over Phillies in 6
MVP: Hideki Matsui
What it's remembered for: Long-time Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez started Game 6 for the Phillies, but was taken out of the game after giving up four runs in the first four innings and took the loss, while Andy Pettitte recorded his record 18th career postseason victory. It was the last game Martinez would pitch in the majors.



5. 2010: Giants over Rangers in 5
MVP: Edgar Renteria
What its' remembered for: After missing most of the season with several injuries, Edgar Renteria hit a three-run home run off of Cliff Lee in the seventh inning of Game 5 that was enough for a 3-1 victory, clinching the Giants title. Renteria joined Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig to have two series-winning hits.



6. 2005: White Sox over Astros in 4
MVP: Jermaine Dye
What it's remembered for: Like the other Sox, the White version had a long drought of its own broken, but White Sox fans never really whined as much as Red Sox fans so it was less celebrated. Although the White Sox swept the series, no game was decided by more than two runs, with Scott Podsednik hitting a walk-off homer in Game 2 off of Brad Lidge after the Astros rallied to tied the game with two runs in the ninth. Podsednik hadn't hit a home run in the entire 2005 regular season, but it was his second of the postseason.



7: 2008: Phillies over Rays in 5
MVP: Cole Hamels
What it's remembered for: Rain. Game 3 was delayed for an hour and a half, while Game 5 was started on Oct. 27 and suspended in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied at 2. The game was completed two days later with the Phillies winning 4-3. It was the first suspended game in World Series history.


8. 2004:
Red Sox over Cardinals in 4
MVP: Manny Ramirez
What it's remembered for: Because the Red Sox broke the Curse of the Bambino, the series itself is remembered more fondly than the play on the field merited. Despite Boston's complete domination of the series and an early 3-0 lead in Game 4 (to go along with the 3-0 series lead at the time), for many Red Sox fans, it wasn't until Keith Foulke flipped the ball to Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out did they believe the Red Sox would actually win the series. (There's also the whole Curt Schilling bloody sock episode that would be in this spot if it weren't for that whole curse thing).


9. 2007:
Red Sox over Rockies in 4
MVP: Mike Lowell
What it's remembered for: Dustin Pedroia led off Game 1 in Boston with a home run and the series kind of followed suit from there. Boston trailed only once in the entire series -- falling behind 1-0 in the first of Game 2, only to win that game 2-1.



10. 2006:  Cardinals over Tigers in 5
MVP: David Eckstein
What it's remembered for: How bad was this series on the field? Well, there were 12 errors committed in the five games and three of the five games featured errors by both teams. There was a game pushed back by rain and the most memorable moment was probably a guy washing his hands. In Game 2, the drama (aided by Tim McCarver's yapping) was the mystery of a mixture of dirt and rosin on Kenny Rogers' hand in the first inning. He went on to pitch eight shutout innings and allowed just two hits in the Tigers' only victory of the series.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 11:24 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Plenty of 'respectful' sons dot MLB history



By C. Trent Rosecrans

In honor of Father's Day (make sure you have bought at least a card by now), earlier today Matt Snyder looked at 10 "disrespectful" sons of big leaguers, sons who had better careers than their fathers. Well, there are as many, or more, who couldn't quite live up to their fathers' legacy -- or "respecting" their father's legacy by refusing to overshadow dear ol' dad.

I've got to give it up to perhaps the greatest team ever, the Big Red Machine teams of the '70s, not only did the Reds dominate on the field, they produced several big leaguers -- and respectful ones at that. The other list had Ken Griffey Jr., but this list has four sons of Reds from the 1970s that were unable to make anyone forget about their more famous fathers.

Pete Rose Jr. Father: Pete. This one is pretty easy. "Charlie Hustle" had 4,254 more hits than his son. But you've got to give the younger Rose credit for not giving up, making his father proud. Little Pete battled in the minors for more than eight years before playing 11 games for the Reds in 1997. He played affiliated baseball until 2001 and independent baseball until 2009, hanging up his cleats at 39. He played in a total of 1,918 games below the big-league level, accumulating 1,877 hits.

Eduardo Perez. Father: Tony. Both now work for the Marlins, Tony in the front office and Eduardo as the team's hitting coach. But that's about the only similarity between the two careers. Tony Perez is in the Hall of Fame and made seven All-Star teams to go along with his two World Series titles. Eduardo Perez played in parts of 13 seasons with six teams, including his father's Reds. He finished with 445 hits -- just 2,287 fewer than his father.

Pedro Borbon Jr. Father: Pedro. Pedro Borbon was one of the unsung heroes of the Big Red Machine, appearing in 362 games from 1973-77, pitching 633 innings for Sparky Anderson in that period. He went 44-23 with a 2.99 ERA. He finished his career with 69 victories and 80 saves. His son has a World Series ring of his own, earning it in 1995 with the Braves. The younger Borbon was excellent in 1995 and 1996, putting together a 2.91 ERA in 84 games combined between those two seasons. He played in nine seasons, going 16-16 with a 4.68 ERA.

Brian McRae. Father: Hal. Before going to Kansas City to join another young team on the rise, Hal McRae started his career in Cincinnati as an outfielder. But he found fame in Kansas City where he was traded after the 1972 season. McRae was one of the best of the first generation of designated hitters, moving to the position full-time by 1976. A four-time All-Star, he finished fourth in MVP voting in both 1976 and 1982. In 1976 he led the American League in on-base percentage and OPS but lost the batting title on the last day of the season to teammate George Brett. Brian McRae also played with Brett. He had a nice career, accumulating 1,336 hits over parts of 10 seasons but was never the force his father was.

Dale Berra. Father: Yogi. Dale Berra played in an era where not much offense was expected of middle infielders, and he complied, putting up an OPS of .638 in parts of 11 seasons. He did finish with 49 home runs in his career; his father hit 309 more. The elder Berra was a three-time MVP and Hall of Famer.

Tony Gwynn Jr. Father: Tony. The younger Gwynn is just 28, but with 249 hits so far in his career, there's no way he's catching dad. Tony Gwynn had five 200-hit seasons and eight batting titles. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lance Niekro. Father: Joe. Lance Niekro was not only a respectful son, but he also honored his uncle, Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro. Lance played in 195 games over four seasons, the bulk of them coming in 2005. Unlike his famous father and uncle, the younger Niekro was a position player, hitting 12 home runs in 2005 for the Giants. In 2009, Niekro tried a comeback as a knuckleballer, pitching one season in the minors before retiring. Joe Niekro was often overshadowed by his brother, but he was no slouch, either. In 1979, he was an All-Star and finished as the runner-up in Cy Young voting and sixth in MVP voting, going 21-11 with five shutouts. He was fourth in Cy Young voting in 1980 when he won 20 games.

Gary Matthews Jr. Father: Gary. The younger Matthews made a lot more money -- and I mean a lot -- but his dad was a better player. The elder Matthews, nicknamed "Sarge," won Rookie of the Year in 1973 with the Giants and finished fifth in MVP voting for the 1984 Cubs when he led the majors with a .410 on-base percentage.  He finished with 2,011 hits and a .281/.364/.439 slash line to go along with 234 career homers. The younger Matthews made one of the game's best catches and turned his one All-Star season into a five-year, $50 million deal with the Angels that pays him $12.4 million this season, even though he's no longer playing. In parts of 12 seasons, the younger Matthews hit .257/.332/.405 with 1,056 hits and 108 home runs.

Brian Bannister. Father: Floyd. The younger Bannister announced that he'd no longer play baseball after leaving the Yomiuri Giants following the tsunami in Japan this March. Brian Bannister pitched in parts of five seasons with the Mets and Royals, making 114 starts, going 37-50 with a 5.08 ERA. He won 12 games in 2007 along with a 3.87 ERA, but it would prove to be his best season. His father pitched for six different teams across parts of 15 seasons, winning at least 12 games five times and finishing his career 134-143 with a 4.06 ERA. He also made the 1982 All-Star team.

Josh Barfield. Father: Jesse. Jesse Barfield was one of the great sluggers of the 1980s and owner of one of the best outfield arms in baseball history. He hit 40 home runs in 1986, also winning a Gold Glove that season. His son, Josh, hit 16 home runs over parts of four seasons, his last coming in 2009. He's currently playing for the Phillies' Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley, Pa.

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Posted on: March 18, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: March 18, 2011 11:18 am
 

Pepper: Kemp has something to prove



By Matt Snyder


Prior to last season, the common sentiment was that Matt Kemp was headed to stardom. It made sense. He was only 25 and was coming off a season where he hit .297 with a .352 OBP and 26 homers, 101 RBI, 97 runs and 34 stolen bases. Though he did hit two more home runs last season, he regressed rather significantly. His average dropped 48 points and OBP was a poor .310. He stole 19 bases, but was caught stealing 15 times. And the stat-line wasn't the worst part. His love life and butting heads with coaches made more news than his actual play.

But the proverbial page has been turned this spring.

"He seems great. I shouldn't say 'seems,' because he's been great," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times .

Kemp came into the spring with that cliche of being in the best shape of his life. So far, it's coming through on the field, as he's hitting .316 with three home runs and three stolen bases. He's looking for it to carry over into the games that actually matter, and there's an extra motivation at play.

"Last year was a very disappointing season, personally and team-wise," he said to the Times. "I felt like I failed in some way. This year, I'm going to try to make sure that doesn't happen again, that we get back to the playoffs and get to where we should be."

HEILMAN ON THE HILL: Aaron Heilman hasn't started a game since 2005, but he's making a strong case to break camp as the Diamondbacks' fifth starter. Two of the three between Heilman, Barry Enright and Armando Galarraga will join the D-Backs' rotation, and Heilman became the first Arizona pitcher to toss five innings Thursday. He allowed two runs -- coming on a Matt Kemp homer, coincidentally. (MLB.com )

ABOUT FELIX'S NO-TRADE CLAUSE: A popular topic this week on the interwebs has been this list of teams Felix Hernandez has on his no-trade clause. Specifically, he can block a trade to the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, Dodgers, Rangers, Phillies and two still-unnamed teams. Now, upon first glance, it might seem he's scared to play in a large-market, high-pressure situation. Quite the contrary, however, as this is actually a savvy move by Hernandez and his agents. Reports indicate these are the teams they felt were most likely to try and acquire King Felix and would be able to offer financial incentives to waive the clause. While we're here, Yankees fans, Felix is not going to be traded this year. It's time to turn the page. (FOX Sports )

NICE CATCH:
Yankees legend Yogi Berra was speaking with Rays manager Joe Maddon Thursday when Berra tripped and began to fall. Maddon caught him. "It's one of those things, you just see it and he's going down. There's Yogi Berra falling right in front of me," Maddon said. "I try to catch him. It might have been my best play as a professional." If not for Maddon's steady hand, it would have been the second fall this spring for Berra. (TBO.com )

OUTFIELD DEFENSE: The best defensive outfield? The Mariners, followed by the Rangers, Giants and Yankees. (MLB.com )

BIG DAY: Kendrys Morales is either going to play Sunday or start the season on the disabled list. He did say rather definitively that he plans to play, but words can only carry you so far. If he's not fully recovered from last season's broken leg, he's just not ready. Mark Trumbo would be the Angels' starting first baseman if Morales can't go. (MLB.com )

ROLEN FOR HALL: This is interesting to me because I rarely consider a Hall of Fame case for a guy who has yet to retire, but Fangraphs.com takes a look at the possible Hall case for Scott Rolen. He probably doesn't pass that gut feeling test -- you know, when people say you should be able to hear the name and automatically just say "Hall of Famer!" if he belongs in -- but it does look like his numbers will merit strong consideration. Fangraphs does warn Rolen is in danger of becoming Ron Santo 2.0.

DEFUNCT LOGOS: This is a fun one. SBNation's Beyond the Box Score takes a look at its top 30 defunct MLB logos. I'm partial to the No. 5 logo, but there are some good ones in there.

LASTINGS IMPRESSION: It's easy to forget that Lastings Milledge is only 25. After all, he was a first-round draft pick in 2003 and was in the majors in 2006. Since then, it's been mostly disappointment, but he is raking this spring with the White Sox -- hitting .314 with four home runs and nine RBI. He hit two bombs in Thursday's win. The biggest plus might be seeing the humility. "Whatever production they get out of me is a plus. I’m not a key piece," he said. (Chicago Sun-Times )

A SIX-YEAR HIATUS? How about a Darren Dreifort comeback? He hasn't pitched since 2004, but threw a bullpen session this week at Dodgers camp. He's 39, but had severe injury woes in his career and retired at age 32. I'd say don't hold your breath. It's spring and sometimes people are just trying to file any story even remotely interesting. (MLB.com )

ON CONTRACTION:
The New York Post has a theory on what the majors could do with the Rays, A's, Mets and Dodgers. The Rays and A's would be contracted while the respective ownership groups would take over the messes that are the Mets and Dodgers. In order to curb the complaints of the player's union, major league rosters would be expanded to 27 players, thereby not eliminating jobs -- it would actually very slightly increase the number of major-league players. It's decent fodder for this time of the year, when we're killing time until the regular season begins, but I just don't ever see contraction happening.

SOUTH KOREAN IDOL: Shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee has fully embraced life in America, as he's become a huge fan of KFC and Papa John's, for example. He's also a big American Idol fan and sings really well -- according to himself. (TampaBay.com )

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: March 11, 2011 11:51 am
 

Pepper: Wagner coach at 28; Japan quake fallout

Pepper

By Evan Brunell

These days are certainly different for Ryan Wagner, a 2003 first-round pick of the Reds. He debuted that same year at age 21 and looked as if he would deliver on his promise, but injuries and attrition caused him to struggle over the next two years before being dealt to the Nationals in a contentious deal, with Cincinnati later alleging that the Nationals then-GM Jim Bowden wasn't up-front about the injury issues of reliever Gary Majewski. 

With the Nats, Wagner was nothing more than a fungible reliever who regressed in effectiveness before undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in 2007. After two years of trying to rehab the injury, Wagner called it quits in 2009. And now, he's a 28-year-old manager, accepting a job with the Victoria Generals in the Texas Collegiate League, a college summer league.

"The college level is where I want to be," Wagner said. "I love coaching the younger boys, but it's definitely a slowdown from the big leagues.

"With the little kids, it's fun teaching the fundamentals and watching them grow. But a lot of these kids are D-I players and when you tell them something they are able to make the adjustments." (Victoria Advocate)

DEVASTATION IN JAPAN: While Americans were sleeping soundly, Japan was the victim of the worst earthquake since 1900, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale. A tsunami developed that will hit Hawaii, but isn't expected to devastate the island. Other places, such as Thailand, may not be so lucky. In the midst of all this, Japan has canceled all professional baseball games for Saturday along with other major sporting events. (Yakyubaya.com)

CONCERN FOR GRANDMOTHER: There are plenty of Japanese ballplayers and media members stateside for spring training that have left many scrambling to contact friends and family. One such player is Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has heard from his family and friends but has not been able to reach his grandmother. (Boston Herald)

Yankees LEGEND OK: Yogi Berra suffered a fall at Yankees spring training camp Thursday and was taken to the hospital as a precaution. The Hall of Famer is doing just fine and may even return to camp Friday. (New York Daily News)

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES: Stephen Strasburg has had a Twitter account for several months but only recently has been tweeting with any frequency. One such tweet yesterday: "Keeping it freaking stupid with coach today!" Who knows what that means, but good to know. (Washington Post)

WILD THING: "Adaptable, even-tempered and not easily rattled" were words used to describe Charlie Sheen. Huh. Interesting. But these words are from the Sheen of three decades ago when he was a relief pitcher for Santa Monica High School. Sheen served as a "very efficient" bullpen ace, coach Jose Lopez recalls. (Los Angeles Times)

MORE Mets MESS: Everyone knows about the Wilpons' struggle to hang onto the Mets in light of the Bernie Madoff scandal, but there's an entirely different scandal being dealt with at this point. Back in November, the Mets fired team employee Charlie Samuels, who admitted to gambling on baseball and also provided mob associates with insider tips. He is also under investigation for stealing memorabilia from the Mets clubhouse and then selling them. The New York Police Department's Organized Crime and Control Bureau was at Mets camp Thursday to interview players and employees about Samuels in the hope of ferreting out more information for the case. Baseball investigators were also on hand to see if illegal gambling is being conducted by other employees and players. Investigators spoke to people with close ties to Samuels, such as  Mike Piazza and Francisco Rodriguez. (New York Daily News)

AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GAME: Rockies manager Jim Tracy finally got Denver Nuggets basketball coach George Karl in town, with Karl assisting Tracy in managing Thursday's game. While Karl's the basketball guru, he may have had a hand in Todd Helton cracking a double, speaking to the first baseman just before the at-bat. A bit of a stretch, but whatever, it's spring training. (Denver Post)

QUESTIONING COLE: MLB Trade Rumors has a bunch of questions for college pitcher Gerrit Cole, who should be a top-five pick in the upcoming amateur draft. Cole was plucked out of high school by the Yankees, but opted to go to UCLA and doesn't regret the decision. Also in the interview: Cole's relaying of a Charlie Sheen story. (MLB Trade Rumors)

OZZIE'S IMPRESSED: Dayan Viciedo has impressed manager Ozzie Guillen the most at spring training. The Cuban defector is currently converting to right field from third base as he looks unable to field the position and first base is locked up. Viciedo was hitting .476 in spring training games but a fractured right thumb will sideline him about a month and guarantees a ticket to Triple-A, which was likely coming regardless. If he can show some semblance of plate discipline, he could be a nice bat for years to come. (Chicago Sun-Times)

ON THE WAY BACK: Erik Bedard was one of the better left-handed starters in the game but missed all of 2010 and had just 30 games started combined between 2009-10. Clearly, Seattle's trade for Bedard hasn't quite worked out, but the lefty had a strong start Thursday and felt he was approaching how he felt during his 2006-07 run. That's all well and good, but the 31-year-old needs to actually pitch in a major league game multiple times before anyone gets excited. (MLB.com)

BIG SWEAT: Dennys Reyes makes himself known to Red Sox fans, as the portly left-hander appears all but a lock to snag a spot in the Red Sox bullpen as the requisite lefty. Reyes has quite an interesting story of how he dislocated his right shoulder, which forced him to begin throwing left-handed. He didn't get the shoulder treated, which is why his right shoulder has a six-inch hunch over the left and still causes him pain on certain fielding plays. (Boston Herald)

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Posted on: July 8, 2010 4:30 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:58 am
 

1999: the Kid steals the show

In anticipation of the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim on Tuesday, July 13, the CBS Sports MLB Facts and Rumors blog looks back at some of the more memorable editions of the All-Star Game. Today looks at the 1999 All-Star Game.

I sat slack-jawed with a tape recorder rolling and no questions in my head, just a desire for the answers to never stop coming.

It was a hotel ballroom in Boston, and Warren Spahn and I were among four or five stragglers in there. He was telling the story of his epic 16-inning, complete-game performance against Juan Marichal and the Giants at Candlestick Park in 1963. It was at least the second time Spahn had told it that day and likely the 10th, and I'd even heard it once before, but I listened again. Just as he mentioned Willie Mays' homer, someone walked into the room and said it was time for Spahn to go.

He apologized, said he could go on for hours and I told him I could listen for more. An hour before, the room had been full of the greatest major-league players in history. Mays was there, so was Marichal, not to mention Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Bob Gibson, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson -- pretty much everywhere I turned, I bumped into a Hall of Famer.

While All-Star Games are naturally filled with All-Stars, the 1999 game was different. It was filled with bigger stars than just the usual names, even in this, the summer following the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa slugfest before it lost its luster. They were there, as was Ken Griffey Jr. at the height of his popularity. Pedro Martinez was making hometown fans think the curse may be bunk. But still, among all the All-Star Games in the history of the exhibition, this was less about the game and the current players than any other.

The 1999 game was not only at one of the country's most historic ballparks, Fenway Park, it was also coming at the time of an endless stream of best-of-the-century lists. But baseball's list, its Team of the Century, was kicked off in a different fashion than any other.

While other places talked of history, it was on display in Boston. Most people didn't see this part, because it was before MLB had 24 hours a day to fill with TV programming, but baseball announced its 100 greatest players of the 20th century in a news conference with the vast majority of the living members of that club in attendance in a hotel ballroom in Boston.

It was an amazing display of the game's greats, and after an entertaining hour-or-so, the players were brought into another room for one-on-one interviews. It was an hour of baseball geek bliss. At 23, I was slightly intimidated and more than happy to listen in on the conversations of the likes of Willie McCovey, Robin Yount, Mike Schmidt and Yogi Berra, among others.

Ted Williams, Pete Rose and Sandy Koufax weren't there, but it was hard to complain about their absence -- or the two from the dais that skipped the one-on-ones, Stan Musial and George Brett, although with Missouri roots, those were the two I'd hoped to interview more than the others.

Ted Williams By the time the all-time greats were introduced on the field the night of the game, I thought I was goose-bumped out. Until, right in front of my seat in the right field auxiliary press box, came Williams in on a golf cart. He did a lap and ultimately was the center of attention as he prepared to throw the first pitch.

It was a moment. A moment for baseball, a moment for baseball fans across the country to share their memories with another generation of fans -- to share their own stories of seeing Mays or Mantle play. In short, it was the rare moment when the ceremonial first pitch outshines the real first pitch. Even future Hall of Famers like Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn seemed to grasp the special nature of the moment. We all did -- those at Fenway and even those watching at home.

Martinez went on to become the first All-Star pitcher to strike out the side in the first inning, fanning Barry Larkin, Larry Walker and Sosa to start the game. He then struck out McGwire to lead off the second, bringing to mind Carl Hubbell's 1934 feat of getting Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin consecutively. It was an impressive display, even after Matt Williams broke Martinez's strikeout streak, reaching on an error. Martinez would win the game and the MVP, but even before he faced Larkin, the game had earned its spot in history.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

More All-Star memories -- 2002: The Tie ; 1949: First integrated edition ; 1941: Teddy Ballagame's walk-off homer

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com